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Gold soothes Fly’s Comrades chagrin

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Phiri said the gold medal he picked up in Cape Town went a long way towards soothing the disappointment he felt on losing out on running the Comrades.

Glen Fly Phiri

A quest to tackle at least one major road race in lieu of missing out on running the famous Comrades Marathon saw hospitality industry worker Glen “Fly” Phiri of Ernestville get on the bus to Cape Town last Thursday to take on the 100km “Cape Festival of Running” ultra marathon.

And so Fly was hyped up for this race that he held nothing back, and returned home bearing gold.

An untimely leg injury, sustained in the months leading up to the Comrades, had kept Phiri from running the celebrated ultra-marathon on June 9. Phiri was prevented from entering because he was far from healed when the deadline for Comrades entries came around, and so he let slip the opportunity to do a Comrades double.

He had done the down run to Durban in 2018 and scored a silver medal for clocking 7 hours, 29 minutes.

However, last Thursday a fully-fit and determined Phiri joined roughly 500 athletes in what is a run in a five-kilometre loop over twenty laps around Sea Point.

Phiri clocked 8 hours 45 minutes but says he could have done much better. “It was my first time doing 100kms but it’s still not the best time for me. I could have done much better. I experienced a problem with my running shoe which was becoming tight, and also muscle cramps delayed me,” he said.

Phiri said at one stage he was positioned third but had to stop to change his running shoes. With this done he rejoined the race, but he struggled to regain his earlier position and had to settle for fourth spot.

According to Phiri his fourth place was enough to earn him one of only 10 gold medals which were awarded to the top five men and the top five women.

Phiri said the gold medal he picked up in Cape Town went a long way towards soothing the disappointment he felt on losing out on running the Comrades.

And how did running 100 kilometres affect the Fly? The day after the race he did a five-kilometre run to relax stiff muscles, and, upon arrival back home on Monday, he did another five kilometres, “just to stay in top shape”.

Phiri says he’s already working on his race plan for next year’s Comrades.